"THE FIRE QUEEN," by Emily R. King, Skyscape, 266 pages (f) (ages 13 and up)
Following the death of tyrant Rajah Tarek, Kalinda and her party leave Vanhi to find Prince Ashwin — the heir to the throne. Warlord Hastin has control over the imperial city, and rebels are hunting Kalinda and her group. After much tribulation en route, Kalinda is summoned to Iresh, the capital of Janardan, which borders the Tarachand Empire. Meanwhile, Captain Deven Naik, her guard whom she loves, is imprisoned for treason.
Prince Ashwin convinces Kalinda to fight in another tournament — and defeat three opponents — by promising Deven's freedom. The winner will be Prince Ashwin's champion, and together they can take back and rule the Tarachand Empire from the dangerous and powerful Hastin. Kalinda must be successful if she wants to save her country and prevent someone else from ruling over her people.
Kalinda struggles to trust the other competitors, as well as the prince, who reminds her all too much of Rajah Tarek, Prince Ashwin's father. As her bhuta powers and fighting skills are challenged, so is her relationship with Deven. Prince Ashwin desires her affections, wanting to claim her as his wife, whether she wins the tournament or not. Though she disliked him at first, he proves to be much more respectable than his father.
With romantic and other key relationships in the balance, as well as the future of the empire at stake, Kalinda must use all her knowledge and skills to defeat not only her opponents but also growing threats to the empire. Kalinda must dig deep and find the full strength of her powers if she is to have any hope of success.
King's writing takes readers to a vivid world with fascinating sorcery and powers. The characters are well-developed and relatable, allowing for reader sympathy and hope for victory. "The Fire Queen" is an entrancing read for those who enjoy young adult fantasy.
There is no foul language in King's book. The romance does not go beyond kissing, but there are some more graphic scenes of violence.
If you go
What: Emily R. King book signing
When: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English Bookshop
Note: The signing line is for those who buy a copy of the featured book from The King’s English.